Forged in Brooklyn and bred in Japan, Postalco makes good things. What began with paper products has grown into leather accessories, minimal apparel and other odds & ends. The beginning notebooks, letterhead and the such remain a personal favorite – so much so that I tend to hold off using what I have for a rainy day. The attention to detail and hunt for perfection has taken the Brooklyn bread stationer to Tokyo, where we paid a visit.
As the only brick and mortar location on the planet the Postalco store is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Tokyo. Seated on a third floor in Shibuya, Postalco is in a location that’s like most Tokyo addresses – impossible to find. However, the hunt is well worth the reward. Most of brand’s stockists carry a small assortment of products, typically a few notebooks here & there, whereas the Shibuya location expectedly has their full line of offerings on display. Clean lines, tight stacks, and appropriate curation are a few words that can be used to describe the modest store. If you appreciate paper it’s easy to spend over an hour combing through the inventory.
For Postalco , the move to Japan made sense. It’s a place where people appreciate quality to a scale unbeknownst to most cultures and there’s still an abundant amount of artisans still producing small quantities of products. This is the perfect environment for a company so focused on making good things. At the same time, the branding and overall style still have an air of Brooklyn, which works in their favor. At the end of the day, it’s the perfect balance of traditional, practical and fun. If you find yourself in Tokyo, you can find Postalco at 1-6-3 3FL Dogenzaka Shibuya, Tokyo [POSTALCO]
Factory visits are at or near the top of my list in terms of destinations. Call me crazy, but I truly appreciate witnessing how things are made. Be it boots, bags, cars, anything that requires production and assembly is o.k. in my book. And regardless of the product, each factory packs a different punch. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of different factories, making a lot of different things. Boots, bags, cars, chocolate bars, pipes, sweaters, bicycles, stationery, watches, among others have all made the list, and never does it get old.
As a change-up to the typical factory tour, I paid a visit to the Museo Piaggio which is housed in one company’s former factories. Located in Pontedera, about an hour outside of Florence, the museum stands in what is Piaggio’s birthplace and home to some of their most important creations. Founded in 1884, Piaggo’s roots lay in the maritime industry where they were considered one of the premier ship-fitting companies in Italy. They would later carry the same reputation in the railroad and aeronautics industries. Not until 1946 would the creation of the Vespa, change the face of Piaggo forever (with a little help from Gregory Peck).
Opened in 2000, and envisioned by the former chairman Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, the museum is a tribute to one of Italy’s most important mechanical companies. On display you’ll find a terrific timeline of Piaggio’s history alongside some of the rarest vehicles they’ve produced in their nearly 130 year history. While there’s clearly an emphasis on the Vespa, examples of Piaggio’s origins in the railroad and aeronautic industry stand present. A 1936 Treno locomotive occupies the entrance, an example of the first stainless steel trains made in Italy. And not far away sits a 1951 Aero P149, one of the first training planes developed by Piaggio in the late 40′s.
Obviously not a typical factory with production having long been discontinued, there’s no lack of creativity remaining in the building. The museum is the perfect example of how to appropriately convert a former industrial space for use today, integrity intact. And while you won’t necessarily bare witness to anything produced per se, you’re still offered the privilege to see the origins of where the ideas were started. [Museo Piaggio]
Spending an extended amount of time in a foreign environment is a very telling experience. It doesn’t take long before you start realizing what you need and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t need. After one or two legs of the journey, your bags are lighter, your routine is dialed, and a kindle is your only companion. While away, normalcies such as drinks with friends get replaced by drinks with strangers. And that’s just fine. If not for the embrace of the separation, it would not offer that familiar tingle of being somewhere different. Somewhere unlike home.
Over the last two months, I’ve been working on a project in Puerto Rico, or America’s 51st state. An island with two flags and two languages, it was much further out than I expected. Embrace was the only option. For a person from the northern colonies, island life takes a little getting used to. A lot less gas and a little more left pedal. The days are long and the waters are warm, I didn’t fight it.
A steady supply of local rum, work and distractions managed to keep me adrift and curious. Admittedly, this island swap also created a lull in contribution to this forum, albeit a steady stream of posts to instagram. And while an obvious supporter of the whole internet thing, sometimes it’s healthy to live outside the lens for a while. Returned, ready and refreshed, I’m looking forward to some new things in the works and to dust off a few things from the past. For now, here are a few snaps from San Juan.
It’s safe to say, traveling isn’t what it was. In years past, one in ten would visit foreign soil during peace time. And those were the lucky. Families were raised local, and stayed local. Sure, there were exceptions, but they tended to be the brave old few who wandered over from the old country.
Insert James A. Fitzpatrick. A native son of Ohio, Fitzpatrick is the envy of anyone who appreciates being forced to shut down their electronic device. For those unfamiliar, Fitzpatrick would spend the better part of 25-years circling the globe, sharing his experiences with the unlucky. Pre-frequent flyer miles and private lounges. During his tenure, an 18-hour ride to Schiphol was a fast one, and probably had three or four connections. That too was luck.
Fitzpatrick’s infamous narration would later be known as The voice of the Globe. And during his career as a writer, producer and narrator he produced over 250 travel documentaries, visiting the world’s great cities. Lasting only a few minutes, his films take people to places far away; unknown, foreign, intimidating. And if his voice or witty narration doesn’t win you over, the impressive Technicolor should. Saying these are good or worth your time would be selling them short.
Turning a passion into a career isn’t for the weary, yet Fitzpatrick managed to pull it off during a time when many thought his passion was crazy. Stretching his borders, he wandered into the unknown and brought home a story. These are two of my favorite visits, each carrying its own basis and offering a great look into the past.
Thanks for the tip, V.